Thursday, March 18, 2010


Today was one of those really weird days that started off as if nothing was ever going to get done, and then suddenly did a crazy Ivan into several things actually starting to pull together. It was one of those much needed days when more things got crossed off my ridiculously long to-do list of projects (yes, it really is an entire page of college-ruled notebook paper) than had to be carried over into the next day. I was beginning to become so overwhelmed by the list itself that I was tempted to just throw the covers over my head and give up, proclaiming myself a complete failure as a homesteader wannabe.

First off was my ridiculous attempt to get our soil sample off to the UT AG extension office in town. Yes, the box instructed me to turn it in there, but the agent told me that this was incorrect and that I needed to send it off to Nashville through the postal service. This would not have been quite so annoying if I wasn't reading the instructions that read "Return sample to your local extension office" on the freakin' box. Not to mention the fact that I had just come from the post office where I'd had to stand in line for a good 20 minutes anyway. All in all I think I spent about an hour and a half just standing in different lines in the same building. Not an easy thing to stomach when daylight is burning, a day without rain is precious, and I've got eighteen point nine bazillion other things to get done. But I sucked it up, breathed deeply, and stood in line. Again. Then screamed and screamed my frustration in the car on the way home.

Oh and did I mention that I had to explain to the agent how to tell if a hen was broody? He'd gotten a call from an area resident about that, and not only did he not know, but it hadn't occurred to him to oh...say...LOOK IT UP FOR HER. I graduated from the same Ag Campus that he most likely did. How is it that I know how to find stuff like that out as the result of my education, where as this professional agriculture extension agent was completely clueless? But I digress. Again.

By the time I got home I was determined to get at least ONE thing crossed off my list other than that blasted soil sample that should have taken 10 minutes but took almost the entire day. Off I went to work on the salad bar for the chickens. What I call the salad bar is really just a small box pen that juts up against the chicken yard. Every few days I move it to a fresh patch of green grass and open the door I've created in the fence so that the chickens have access to it. It's a great way to keep your birds in nice new green grass regardless of what a great job they do in denuding their fixed pasture. Anyway, within minutes I had it moved to a nice fresh patch of grass and my hens were happily scratching in virgin soil. I could feel my tension starting to release. Not only that, but as I was finishing up I heard the unmistakable sound of the UPS truck in the drive. Lo and behold it was the greenhouse plastic being delivered, only three weeks late following the collapse of the warehouse at Northern Greenhouse Supply (with our order inside, of course). Suddenly things were looking up even further.

By dark it was time to move our broody hen and her two newest eggs to her maternity ward, a small chicken tractor that we use if we need to segregate anyone. For the next three days I will collect all the fertilized eggs laid and place them under her. This is her first attempt at motherhood, so it's quite the adventure. After I got my broody gal settled, I went in to candle the four eggs that I had already pulled and put into the incubator (still intend to put up the peepshow cam, it's on my to-do list!). And there they were, little squirming blobs, the beginnings of new chickens. Hooray!

So as I close this post (I can cross yet another thing off my list in doing so), I'm waiting for our first You Tube video to load. I got our channel opened up just this evening and have been working on trying to post some stuff ever since. Hey gimme a break, I'm technologically challenged and stressed out. Don't make me add "snatch so-and-so bald" to my list.

Anyhoo, the YouTube channel is called ClucknNeigh so that should be pretty easy to find. I hope to have some videos up as links very shortly. I've also put a link to it in our Links section of the blog. And now I can cross that off my list.

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